Finding a suitably attractive package for this unusual, unfashionable album represented a considerable challenge. It could hardly assume the contemporary vibe of her past two album covers, and yet a large chunk of the record-buying public would probably be lost if it looked like a period piece. Photographer Lynn Goldsmith and art director Simon Levy clearly understood this, and they arrived at a stunningly dramatic cover; one that captures the romantic fervour of the music as well as the erotic charge of her previous album covers. Goldsmith later recalled that photographs from their first session (for example, on the top right) had to be discarded. Carly "just looked too sad...she couldn't help showing the pain she was going through" in the wake of her separation from Taylor. Goldsmith asked for a second session. This one would be held on the roof of the singer's New York apartment building as the sun set, where the bluesy mood of the album would be conveyed by the darkening tones of the sky. To encourage Carly, she brought along two props. One was a 1940s-style microphone for her to sing into (as the second photo on the right shows). The other was an actor - to play the man who got away, or was about to get away - and in several shots (for example, the third and fourth on the right) she can be seen tugging on his arm, begging him to stay, and responding rapturously when he nuzzles her neck. Indeed, in some of the photographs it looks as though she may be trying to hold him by force, or, as she herself once described it, "to keep his arm as a souvenir".
Torch received excellent reviews and sold well, albeit as a slow and steady fire rather than a chart-topping blaze. It set the stage for the upcoming boom in standards albums, and also for Carly's own further explorations in this field. Unlike so many other contemporary forays into the 'Great American Songbook', her standards albums have never been motivated by nostalgia, nor contained within its narrow confines. They have always been infused with a distinctive creative vision, and by a depth of feeling that is beautifully demonstrated on this album's cover.